NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A prosecutor told jurors in closing arguments at a New York terrorism trial that the defendant was a top aide to Osama bin Laden nearly a decade before deadly bombings at two U.S. embassies in Africa.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Buckley made the comment Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan as two days of closings began in the trial of Khaled al-Fawwaz.

Al-Fawwaz at one time ranked as the ninth-most powerful member of al Qaeda, Buckley said, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.

Al-Fawwaz’s lawyer isn’t expected to speak until Thursday.

The defendant has pleaded not guilty. He did not testify during the three-week trial.

Buckley told the anonymous jury that al-Fawwaz was the leader of an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in the early 1990s.

“He initially proved himself by violence — bombing and killing,” the prosecutor said. “From there, he became the leader in charge of a jihad training camp in Afghanistan, teaching others to bomb and kill.”

Buckley said the defendant later served bin Laden in a Kenya terror cell before the 1998 bombings of embassies that killed 224 people, including a dozen Americans.

The prosecutor told jurors they don’t have to find that al-Fawwaz built or detonated a bomb; they just have to find that he joined a conspiracy with the purpose of using explosives to destroy United States property and kill Americans.

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